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SBA honors Bird Island computer company

BIRD ISLAND -- Brian Sheehan, Kevin Sheehan, Susan Peterson and Brian Fagerstrom, owners of Rural Computer Consultants Inc. in Bird Island, have been named the Minnesota Small Business Persons of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The winners are selected annually on growth in sales or unit volume, increase in the number of employees, financial strength, innovativeness of product or service and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects.

Liz Struve, director, and Ruth Ann R. Karty, professional business consultant of the Southwest Small Business Development Center at Southwest Minnesota State University, nominated the owners.

Rural Computer Consultants opened humble offices in Bird Island in 1979 with Brian and Kevin Sheehan. They moved to Redwood Falls, then Willmar, and returned to Bird Island in 1987 when they purchased Bird Island Computer Services and remodeled office space to accommodate their 15 employees.

In 1998, Susan Peterson and Brian Fagerstrom joined the firm as owners.

Today, Rural Computer Consultants employs more than 40 people, supporting more than 1,350 fuel companies and 300 mutual insurance companies nationwide and globally.

The company leads its industry in providing back office accounting and interfaces to high-tech devices in the fuel distribution and insurance industries.

Struve said Rural Computer Consultants "is an ideal business model, demonstrating what can be accomplished by a small business in outstate Minnesota. RCC offers great opportunity and optimism for rural populations, by offering and bringing technologies to anywhere in the world."